Canon R10 review: 4K and fast shooting speeds for under $1,000

Image Credit: Steve Dent/Engadget

The best feature of this camera is the AI-powered dual pixel autofocus which is similar to what is found on the R7 and even the professional EOS R3. It allowed me to keep fast-moving subjects in focus, either by keeping the AF point on them or by using face and eye tracking. It can track people, animals, and vehicles, but it doesn’t actually support tap-to-track like other Canon models.

With people or animals, it will fluently track either the head or the eyes, and it does a great job of switching between the two seamlessly. For racing vehicles, try to focus on the driver’s helmet. The system is responsive, reliable, and nearly foolproof, seamlessly tracking subjects whether you’re in pinpoint or wide-area AF modes. That makes it ideal for beginners who don’t want to dive into the manual to figure out complex setups for subject tracking.

image quality

Gallery: Canon EOS R10 Image Gallery | 31 Photos


The R10 offers accurate colors with warm skin tones as most photographers want. JPEGs strike a good balance between sharpness and noise reduction, while RAW files offer decent but not spectacular dynamic range. That allows a good amount of space to modify the images.

However, low-light performance is a weak point. You might consider ISO 6400 to be a hard limit, and even then you’ll still get a lot of noise if you try to boost blacks in underexposed shots. ISO 12,800 is possible in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you need a clear photo. The lack of in-body stabilization also means you’ll risk blurry photos at shutter speeds below 1/100 unless your hands are spectacularly steady.

However, as I used to forget, the R10 has a built-in flash that will allow you to at least get a clear photo, albeit not a very artistic one, if you don’t have enough light. Just be sure to reduce the flash intensity in the settings to prevent your subject from blowing out.

Video

Canon EOS R10 Review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The R10 is one of the best APS-C cameras for video. You get sharp 4K downscaled to 30fps or less, and cropped video at 60fps which isn’t as sharp but certainly still usable. If you want super slow, you can shoot at 120fps at 1080p, but the video is obviously even smoother.

It’s also the only sub-$1,000 APS-C camera I can think of that offers 10-bit video via HDR PQ mode. However, unlike most log videos, you won’t find a standard lookup table (LUT) for this in Adobe Premiere or other editing systems. So unless you’re playing the video directly on an HDR TV, it can be tricky to work with.

Autofocus isn’t as good for videos as it is for photos, as the system occasionally focuses on the background instead of the subject. That doesn’t happen often, though, so the video I shot was generally sharp, except in a few cases.

The lack of in-body IS means you’ll need to use stabilized lenses for handheld video. And for something like vlogging, you’ll also want to turn on electronic stabilization or even use Enhanced IS. Electronic IS adds significant crop, on top of the 1.6X APS-C crop, so the two kit lenses are barely wide enough at the 18mm end of the zoom.

Canon EOS R10 Image Gallery

Steve Dent/Engadget

Vlogging at 60fps adds another degree of difficulty, as you get an additional 1.56x crop, so the 18mm lens almost becomes a 50mm lens. While vlogging, I found that I could barely fit my head into the frame, even while wearing a Joby Gorillapod to add a bit more arm length.

The rolling shutter can also be an issue, particularly for oversampled 4K 30p video, though it’s much less of a problem than on Sony’s APS-C cameras. It improves in 4K 60p mode because there’s less of a sensor to read, but again, you’re dealing with some serious cropping and smoother footage.

As with photos, video quality is excellent with dynamic range on par with rival cameras, albeit slightly less than what Sony offers. Oversampled video is very sharp and, again, colors are accurate and skin-friendly. You can get extra dynamic range shots in HDR mode for sunsets and the like, but again, be aware that it takes some work to look good.

To wrap

Canon EOS R10 Review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The $980 EOS R10 is a solid start for Canon’s budget crop-sensor RF cameras. It has impressive shutter speeds, excellent autofocus, good image quality, good handling, a flip-out screen, and solid video capabilities.

However, there is room for improvement. It’s not as big of a jump as I’d hoped over Sony’s $900, two-year-old A6400. And while it has 10-bit capability and better autofocus than Fujifilm’s $900 X-T30 II, the latter is better overall for video and has a slightly higher resolution. It’s also a bit too expensive to qualify as a true budget camera.

Still, this camera is sure to appeal to users who want to step up from a smartphone and are tempted by Canon’s solid reputation. You won’t be disappointed with the R10, because it’s easy to use and delivers where you count on sharp, beautiful photos and videos.

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